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Registering and Microchipping


The Dog Control Act 1996 requires all dogs over 3 months old to be registered with their local council every year by 1 July. Registration fees are set by councils to take into account the cost of providing dog control services in their area and the balance between dog owners bearing the costs of dog control and the benefits to ratepayers of having safe and well controlled dogs in their community .

Every council has to keep a record of all dogs registered. Information on the dog and its owner along with its microchip number (if it has one) is provided to the National Dog Data Base (NDD). The NDD enables lost and stolen animals to be reunited with owners and keeps track of dogs deemed to be menacing and dangerous.


Dog Microchipping - What owners need to know (.pdf) 265k* Dog Microchipping brochure, January 2011.

Since 1 July 2006, all dogs registered in New Zealand for the first time (except farm dogs used for stock control) must be microchipped. This applies mainly to puppies when they are first registered at three months. Dogs classified as dangerous or menacing, dogs impounded but not registered and dogs registered but impounded twice are also required to be microchipped.

Microchipping is a more permanent method of identifying a dog than collars and tags which can be lost or removed. Even tattooing is not necessarily permanent as dogs can damage their ears in fights or fur might grow over the tattoo and it might not be seen easily. A microchip is permanent and, providing it meets the required standards and has been inserted correctly it will function for the life of your dog.

Microchipping was introduced for two main reasons. It enables a dog to be linked to its owner, so if it is stolen or lost, dog and owner can be reunited, and it can identify a dog which has been aggressive and classified as dangerous or menacing. This is especially important if a dog owner attempts to disguise the dog's identity.

In effect any dog found straying by an animal control officer, or taken to a welfare agency such as the SPCA, or injured and taken to a vet is scanned and, if microchipped, can speedily be restored to its owner.

Anyone can microchip a dog but it has to be done correctly and the inserted chip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, needs to be checked to ensure that it is working properly. It can be difficult for individuals to get microchips, the tool to insert them and the scanner so in practice most microchipping is done by vets, the SPCA, or a local council. It is up to the owner to take the microchipping certificate to the council to have the information recorded as part of the registration process and checked to confirm that it meets the regulations.

Unless the information is recorded on the council data base, the owner is not complying with the law and a dog picked up straying may be rehomed or euthanized rather than returned to its owner. The only safe way to ensure that your pet can be returned to you if it is lost or stolen is to have it microchipped and recorded on the council’s data base which means it will be on the NDD.

It’s up to you to notify the council if information has changed, for example if the dog has died or has been transferred to a new owner.

Done correctly microchipping is a simple, lifelong way to identify dogs and link them to their owner, and results in the speedier return of lost, stolen or injured animals.

Dog registration and microchipping are two separate processes. You must register your dog every year, but you need to microchip your dog only once.

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*The brochure is in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the Adobe site.

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